Volunteers from all over South Florida came together on September 26th to plant cypress trees in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in celebration of National Lands Day. Lands Day is an event that calls on Americans to volunteer to help maintain natural spaces.

Volunteers at Loxahatchee planted 600 cypress seeds in an effort to combat the intrusion of Brazilian pepper in the refuge. Brazilian pepper is an invasive species classified as a “noxious weed” by Florida’s Department of Agriculture. Before planting, farmers cleared away all the Brazilian pepper in the reserve.

The Loxahatchee reserve, founded in 1951, is home to over 250 species of birds, as well as alligators, marsh rabbits, river otters, and bobcats. Visitors to the reserve can observe the wildlife from canoes or kayaks, hike, bike, and go fishing. Volunteers have donated over 14,000 hours of labor to the reserve thus far. More volunteer work is always needed to preserve this vital part of the Everglade swamp that used to stretch from lake Okeechobee to Fort Lauderdale. Maybe next year on Lands Day even more people will pick up trowels to help save South Florida’s natural heritage.

Read the full article here: National Wildlife Refuge Protects our Natural resources and Wildlife

Link: http://www.bocaratontribune.com/bocaratonnews/2015/10/visit-and-volunteer-at-the-arthur-r-marshall-loxahatchee-national-wildlife-refuge-to-protect-our-natural-resources-and-wildlife/

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